Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Notes on Dravidian Words - i

bAgu is a common Telugu word meaning 'good', 'well being' etc... I didn't find the cognates in SD-I languages. Dravidian Etymology Dictionary(DED) mentions Tamil word vAkku meaning perfection is a cognate. This must be an exception where a Telugu word has 'ba' instead of 'va' while Tamil shows 'va'. Generally, Tamil and Telugu have 'va' sound where Kannada/Tulu have 'ba'. Unfortunately, equivalent Kannada and Tulu words are not available. So is the case with Malayalam, according to DED.

But today I was reminded of a word in my variant of Malayalam. Though standard dialect of Malayalam uses nallad for good; we say pAG. eg. ad pAGilla; nI maTTed nOkkiko(That is not good; you check the other one). However, we use pAG mostly with non-human objects and nalled with humans.

Update: Commenter Mallinath has come up with few more exceptions to 'ba', 'va' rule. But of the three words he mentioned two appeared to be Indo-Aryan import to Dravidian languages, baNDi, baNDa and the remaining one, bratuku, appears to be a borrow into Telugu from Kannada(I assume because the same noun form is said to be a borrow into Tamil from Kannada, according to DED*).

While ruling out all these exceptions, I became suspicious of the word bAgu. Then suddenly I remembered a stupid dialogue from a horrible Hindi movie. "mErE man ko bhAyA; mE kutta kAT ke khAyA" (My mind felt good; I cut a dog and ate). Indeed, Telugu bAgu and Malayalam pAG are borrows from IA languages. I have already mentioned that a big chunk of IE speakers assimilated with Dravidians. I consider the language of these people was Magadhi Prakrit. Therefore, any exceptions to 'va', 'ba' rule (which I firmly believe is geographical for Dravidians) must be checked from Magadhi Prakrit angle.

* Please find the links to Dravidian dictionaries at the sidebar(Starling and Digital Dictionaries of Asia).


S. Mallinath said...

Wow! You have a keen observation and genuine interest in these topics -- your posts reflect that.

As a native Telugu, I can provide a few other cognate pairs that have wa-/va- in Tamil and ba- in Telugu, off the top of my head:

waNDi - banDi (cart) (DEDR lists this under paṇṭi [DEDR:50] :-))
waNDu - banDa (low, obscene) [DEDR:3902]
wār̤kkai - bratuku (living, life) [DEDR:5372]

So, what's your theory on p/v/b? :-)


Manjunat said...

I have updated my post with your inputs.

Tim said...

Although I know very little about linguistics, your blog is very interesting, especially as I have a passing interest (though little knowledge as yet) in Euskara, and it's curious to see possible connections with other language groups, so far from home. I look forward to reading more on IVC and related topics.

Manjunat said...

Thank you, Tim. I hope some data here could be interesting.

Ravi Mundkur said...

The Telugu 'baagu'(=good)and Prakrit 'bhag' [of bhagvant etc](=goodness/God)apparently have a common origin.

Srikanth said...

To add to Mallinath's list:
* vellam (Tam): bellamu (Tel) - jaggery
* vADagai (Tam): bADiga (Tel) - rent, tenancy

Manjunat said...

* vADagai (Tam): bADiga (Tel) - rent, tenancy

bhADa = rent in Hindi.

Regarding jaggery, I found the following entry at DED.
Cf. Mar. bhel, bhelī, Or. bheli jaggery
Mar. - Marathi.

According to Starling database, Gondi words are borrowed from Marathi.

Still all exceptions to v->b rule look dubious.

As I said we need to scrutinize them for Magadhi Prakrit roots.

Manjunat said...

The Telugu 'baagu'(=good)and Prakrit 'bhag' [of bhagvant etc](=goodness/God)apparently have a common origin.

True. I have mentioned that in the "update". Incidentally, 'bog' is 'god' in Slavic languages too.

Manjunat said...

I think in the case of 'bella', it is a Kannada word moved to Marathi and Telugu, I suppose.

b-v exceptions can be traced to;
1. Magadhi Prakrit
2. Kannada influence